What the Greeks Knew

Last week you braved the poached egg
I fixed, mouthed my tapioca but now,
lying in your hospice bed, we simply
hold hands while I whisper soothings back
to your morphic dreams of work days
and kid days and odd, fleeting words
spoken out loud.

Your fingers twitch, exploring my palm
or the pillow that lies beneath our hands,
your fingers touching the material,
weighing it, judging it, making
pincer motions, like holding again
one of your fine-work needles.

Silently, I wonder how much fiber
your Lachesis apportioned out for you?  
How much your Clotho spun, you
with your goats and home-dyed yarns? 

I know Atropos is coming, with her
bright shears, to clip the thread of life,  
but still you feign your sewing by rote,
imaginary needle slipping into the tender
tissue of your dreams, awaiting the inevitable
end of the spool, the skein, the measure
of thread that cross-stitched our lives together.


Yvette Viets Flaten lives in Eau Claire. She is a life member of the WFOP and her award-winning poetry (Muse Prize, Jade Ring) has been widely published. She edited the 1999 Poets’ Calendar. Yvette and husband Dan travel as much as possible, always looking for a new road to adventure.